Cell phones on the Do Not Call list.
I ran across a blog entry today that mentioned that our cell phone numbers are soon to be in the hands of telemarketers and urged people to put their cell numbers into the National Do Not Call Registry. Since we pay by the minute for cell phone usage, something didn't sound right about this, especially since I hadn't heard about this before, and this is normally the kind of thing that has consumer rights proponents grabbing all the TV time they can to talk about why this is a Bad Thing. (To be clear, I also regard telemarketers calling me on my cell to be a Bad Thing.) So I did some googling.
In short, my results found that this is an urban legend, based on an announcement that the major wireless companies (with the exception of Verizon) are planning to establish a 411 directory of customers' cell numbers beginning in late 2005. They do not plan to “publish” said directory for any and all to read. Participating companies say the numbers will be made available only with customer consent and only via telephone to users who dial directory assistance and pay a fee. The companies also swear the numbers will never be available to telemarketers.
Not everybody's buying that. Hence, our urban legend *and* a privacy protection bill that's been introduced in Congress which would modify the plan to allow 411 callers to be directly connected to requested parties without the latter's phone numbers being given out. At this point, though FCC regulations prohibit telemarketers from calling cell phone numbers using automated dialers, which is the standard way that telemarketers use to call people. (That's why occasionally you'll get a call and nobody's there. The automated dialer calls a number of people at once, and the first person that picks up gets connected to the telemarketer.)
In any case, the Federal Trade Commission does allow cell phone users to add their numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry — the same one already in force for landlines — either on the Web or by calling 1-888-382-1222. So, I'm adding mine and 's today.